From one year to the next we negotiate passage through a series of named storms.
While for the most part we have avoided the worst of the heavy snowfall and flooding it is still an unusual transition dominated by rapid shifts in the weather.
From fog shrouded days with lots of rain on sodden ground when everything is a bit drab and messy, then comes the winter proper once we are into the new year and temperatures dipping right down, with high winds and squally sleety showers.
There are a fair few trees down, and still an ongoing sequence of clearing dead wood litter and branches from the grass, along with a few more shallow rooted trees heavily leant over, a good bit of tidying to be completed through the woodland.
There is one significant loss in the Front garden by the exposed perimeter corner as one of the original Scots pines gives way. Wood Wind Song which was directly beneath it is undamaged, but in the adjacent Roman Garden the stone Torso sculpture is pushed over and its plinth collapsed, the Aircraft Carrier Bird Table is also knocked off its plinth – they should be recoverable without too much repair required, though the full extent of damage caused still needs to be assessed. This tree will need to be replaced to make sense of the poem stele, but it will be a while before there is a mature specimen here again to filter the winds whistling through.
Another solitary pine in the Allotment is also knocked over – it need not be replaced but actually benefits this area as more light will be let in. By the Top pond and through the woodland and Parkland willows in particular bend down and snap. This adds to the ongoing winter pruning of shrubs, roses and fruit trees kept in shape.
The house suffers too from flooding. It is hard to see where this has got in but the kitchen floor is a sad sight as it sits in puddles of water. Just the sheer volume of rain blowing under doors, down chimneys. All is mopped up cleared away and hopefully back to normal.
In terms of getting other practical things done there is still some planting of bare root hazel replenishing the hedging of Huff Lane.
A strawberry tree ‘arbutus unedo’ is placed on the outside of the Allotment by the Strawberry’s Waves bed. Another pleasing planted pun.
A small group of cherry plum are put in at the far end of the Parkland by the Oak Bark Boat stone bench where we lost a large poplar – these will fill out and form a pleasant screen and setting over time.
Now there are the familiar pops of yellow winter aconite, and the sharp points of lots of spring bulbs pushing through, though as always this sequence of promise seems much later here than elsewhere.
It is that time of year also of much browsing through seed packets, though still too early for most to be sown, there will soon be a flurry of such activity.
Not quite out of winter yet, it is still time to take time and shelter…